GOODWIN ENDS DEFENDING CHAMPION’S REIGN
Twenty-six-year-old Harry Goodwin (pictured) caused one of the biggest upsets of the 2024 Imagine Cruising World Indoor Bowls Singles championships when he defeated reigning champion Jamie Walker in a close knit finish that could have seen the result go either way (writes Anne Dunwoodie, World Bowls Tour).
Walker made an impressive start against a very tentative Goodwin, virtually sealing the opening set when he went 8-0 ahead after just five ends – and although Goodwin started to come on to a better game, it was too little too late, with Walker chalking up the result 9-3 with an end in hand.
But what a difference in the second set, with Goodwin stringing together four cracking shots on the first end.
However Walker came straight back at him with successive singles followed by a treble to lead 5-4.
But Goodwin, the English, British and Under 25 IIBC (International Indoor Bowls Council) champion showed just why he was a ‘Sponsor’s pick’, as he dug deep and rolled in counts on four of the concluding five ends to win the set 10-6 to set up a three end shoot out.
Goodwin got the ‘heads up’ on the first end, then a great movement of the jack from Walker, plus a missed running last bowl by Goodwin saw the match level at one end all.
Then in a pulsating third end the Kent plasterer sat behind the jack with his third bowl and with his last delivery Walker opted to draw the shot and just marginally missed by a whisker and bowed out 2-1.
RESULT: QF1 Harry Goodwin (Eng) bt *Holder Jamie Walker (End/1) 3-9, 10-6, 2-1.
ANDERSON WINS BATTLE OF THE FORMER CHAMPIONS
WBT ranked number three Stewart Anderson, the title holder in 2013 and again in 2019 came through his quarter-final match in the Imagine Cruising World Indoor Championships, beating Rob Paxton 8-5, 9-1.
Both players made a good start over the early exchanges but back to back doubles for Anderson on the third and fourth ends pushed him 5-2 ahead and he held onto that three shot advantage eventually posting an 8-5 win.
Paxton though, a finalist three times over the years and the champion in 2020, appeared to have aggravated a back/thigh muscle when opting to play a thundering runner and looked to be struggling slightly in the second set. And that’s the way it played out with Anderson putting the result to bed with two ends to spare 9-1.
Looking back over the years, Paxton and Anderson have only come up against each other twice before – with Paxton winning both matches.
This year however, Anderson was delighted to have safely negotiated a semi-final spot in the event.
He last won the title in 2019 and in the four years of the Championship since then he has lost in the second round on a tie break – in 2020 to Paxton, ’21 to Greg Harlow, ’22 to Jamie Chestney and last year to Wayne Willgress.
He will now provide the opposition for England’s Harry Goodwin in the first of the semi-finals this afternoon at 1.30pm (Saturday 20th January).
RESULT: QF2 Stewart Anderson (Scot/3) bt Rob Paxton (Eng/4) 8-5, 9-1.
SIX TIMES WORLD INDOOR SINGLES CHAMPION ALEX MARSHALL THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINAL STAGE
Alex Marshall MBE, who holds the record of six world indoor singles titles – all won at Potters, with his last success coming in 2015, has won through to this year’s semi-finals of the Imagine Cruising World Indoor Singles championship, ending the hopes of 2022 title holder Les Gillett in a cut and thrust roller coaster 4-8, 8-3, 2-1.
Both players kept the capacity crowd well entertained with an all round outstanding display of delicate draw shots and some sensational conversions.
Singles were scored on eight of the nine end set, but a breathtaking conversion on the penultimate end yielded Gillett a full house and he wrapped up the set with a single on the last 8-4.
He stayed on point in the second set with consecutive singles on the opening ends but Marshall turned back the clock with some vintage moves, keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats and won the set 8-3 with an end in hand.
The best of three end shoot out was another classic exchange.
Marshall scored the vital shot on the first, Gillett drew to within inches of the jack to beat Marshall’s match winning shot to a displaced jack on the left hand side of the rink to go into the last end ‘winner take all’ confrontation, and that went Marshall’s way 2-1 to stay in contention for a record extending seventh world indoor singles title.
Over the course of the years, Marshall and Gillett have played each other five times, so it was revenge for the Scot as he chalked up his first victory against the Englishman.
RESULT: QF3 Alex Marshall (Scot) bt Les Gillett (Eng/3) 4-8, 8-3, 2-1.
PAUL FOSTER COMPLETES THE SEMI-FINAL LINE UP
After a day of quarter-finals on the 16th day of action at the Imagine Cruising World Indoor Bowls Championships at Potters Resorts, Hopton-on-Sea, Scotland’s Paul Foster staked his claim to the fourth and final semi-final berth.
Fifty-year-old Foster, a five times former winner of this title and who has reached this final on seven occasions, was like a ‘man on a mission’ as he took to the rink against 2016 champion Nicky Brett.
Early exchanges saw the Troon taxi proprietor string three of the opening five ends together to take a 5-2 lead, and a further four shots on the sixth end propelled him to a 9-2 lead and depsite dropping a single, three shots on the penultimate end put the result out of reach at 12-3.
In the second set, again with some extra ordinary bowling, both players kept the match tight with singles all the way.
The Scot scored on the four opening ends, and although they shared two winning ends each of the concluding four ends, it was Foster who secured the semi final placement.
His opponent will be his long term pairs partner and best friend Alex Marshall MBE. They take to the rink in the second of the semi-finals at 3.30pm.
With 13 World Indoor Singles titles since 1998 and four runner beaten finalist spot between Anderson, Marshall and Foster, Harry Goodwin is the only player in the semi-finals who has not won this title before and he will face off against twice former champion Stewart Anderson.
Ironically is was the four players who were all wearing green who survived to fight another day in the chase for the ultimate prize on the indoor bowling circuit while the ‘red’ players all lost out.
As the saying goes ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’ – Good Luck to all four competitors, it’s been a long road since the Championships unfolded at Potters on 5th January, but the finishing line is in sight.
*** The Imagine Cruising World Under 25 Singles semi-finals kick off this morning (20th January) at 9am with back-to-back holder Daniel Pool taking on Rebecca Moorbey from England.
Scotland’s Darren Weir, who had lost in the title decider to Pool for the last two years, comes under starters orders at 10.45am against the very amicable and talented Jack East from Perth in Western Australia – Good Luck everyone.
RESULT: QF4 Paul Foster MBE (Scot/2) bt Nicky Brett (Eng/6) 12-3, 6-2.
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